November 7th, 2010, 7 Comments »
I’ve been doing a lot of on-site work with a particular client this year. They have those super-powered hand dryers in all of the bathrooms. Above each hand dryer, there’s this little laminated sign:
Absurdly bureaucratic, no? Humour is the only response to this kind of punctiliousness, isn’t it? So, I quietly produced and laminated a replacement sign:
That satisfied me for a few months, but I was concerned that it was overly subtle. Someone might assume that a new edict had been rolled out by senior management, nullifying the original instruction. So I tried a slightly more obvious angle:
In retrospect, I really should have put the line break between “air” and “like”.
There’s still gold in this vein. I plan to make one more sign before the year is out. I was thinking of going with something more nonsensical:
HÃƒÂ¤nde hoch, baby, HÃƒÂ¤nde hoch mir dein Herz, gib mir, gib mir dein Herz
Which, roughly translated, is “hands up, baby, hands up, give me your heart, give me give me your heart” in German.
But I’m sure you could do better. Any suggestions?
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October 25th, 2010, 5 Comments »
One of our current clients is a sizable, nationwide orgnization. For sundry reasons, I’ve got an email address for their domain, as in firstname.lastname@example.org. So, I receive a bunch of emails sent to the whole company, everybody in the head office and other large groups.
I easily receive five emails a week that begin with some variation of “sorry for the mass email”, and describe anything from a lost phone charger to available spots on the company’s softball team. They’re trivialities, and certainly not relevant to 95% of the recipients.
If the head office recipient list has 250 people on it, and each person spends, conservatively, 10 seconds processing this email, then that’s 40 minutes of wasted time per email. If there’s just five a week, that adds up to 175 hours of wasted time a year.
I’m no productivity fiend, though. I think the bigger scourge is the systematic irritation that we all suffer when we receive these emails. Plus, each time one of these is sent, it grants tacit permission to everybody else in the organization that it’s okay to send such emails.
Why, in 2010, do organizations still have this decade-old problem? The issue, I suspect, is a lack of confidence in the common alternative: the company intranet. That’s not surprising, because everybody loathes their intranet. Also, in most organizations, only a few senior people and administrators tend to have permission to publish intranet articles into the ‘global feed’, enabling news to appear on each user’s intranet home page.
So, if you’ve lost your phone charger, then you’re far likelier to locate it using a global email message instead of the intranet?
If the mass email is a nuclear warhead, and the intranet is an ineffectual BB gun, what other options are there? The kitchen bulletin board? Maybe the simplest option is to not to try to distribute trivial messages?
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